Group collects 500k signatures in effort to strip Whitmer's emergency powers

whitmer, gretchen
Photo credit Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (Photo: State of Michigan)
By WWJ Newsradio 950

(WWJ) A group working to revoke the 1945 law Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is using for emergency powers says it's collected more than the number of signatures needed to end Michigan's "endless lockdown."

Members of "Unlock Michigan" said Wednesday they have exceeded 500,000 signatures, and will send the petitions to the Bureau of Elections for consideration. 

“When the final tally is completed, we will have collected signatures from all 83 of Michigan’s counties, from citizens coming from all walks of life,” said the group's co-Chair Meshawn Maddock. “Republicans and Democrats alike oppose the idea of an endless lockdown, and they oppose any elected official seizing all the power for themselves. That’s simply not the Michigan way,” she said.

The law being challenged is crucial to Gov. Whitmer as it allows her to continue to extend the State of Emergency due to COVID-19, enabling the governor to issue executive orders such as those mandating masks in public, and forcing certain type of businesses to remain closed. 

“We have submitted vastly more signatures than required to qualify our initiative, and the 60-day process of the Bureau of Elections will allow ample time for the Legislature to enact this law this year,” added co-Chair Garret Soldano. “We the People did our job. The Bureau of Elections needs to do their job. And then the House and Senate can do their jobs, ending the disastrous mistake of the 1945 emergency law that has been so misused by this Governor."

The signatures will have to be verified, and the decision, either way, is likely to be challenged.

At a news conference last month, Whitmer urged residents not to sign the petition, and others like it aimed at taking away her power to act during the pandemic.

"As a resident of this state, I would want my governor to do what they have to do to save lives, and that is what we have done," Whitmer said. " I ask people to decline to sign if you see that (petitions) out there. We know that these actions save us. A vast majority of the people in this state support this, and that is exactly why we are going to fight to keep these executive powers in this office."

WWJ Newsradio 950 has a call out to the governor's office for comment on these latest developments.